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Quick Action by Student Pays Off

UC Riverside Student Saves Woman From Hundreds of Miles Away

Taylor Booker's actions after receiving an unexpected early-morning phone call help save a woman's life

(March 29, 2010)

Taylor Booker at her high school graduation.

Taylor Booker at her high school graduation.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - ( - The call came at 2:30 a.m. on a recent Saturday. Taylor Booker was hanging out with a few friends at a UC Riverside residential hall. She didn't recognize the number on her cell phone but knew it was from her hometown area code.

Figuring it was friends prank calling her, she answered. She heard the voice an old woman who could barely speak. Two minutes passed before the woman uttered some vital words.

"She finally said, 'I need help,'" Booker said, recalling the Feb. 28 conversation. "At that point, I knew this was not a joke and I really needed to help her."

Keeping the woman on the line, Booker used the cell phone of her friend and fellow UC Riverside student, Ebony Lewis, to call 911. The call reached police in Riverside, who transferred it 440 miles north to their counterparts in Richmond, where Booker had determined the woman was.

Using the woman's name, phone number and hometown, police were able to locate her apartment. Twenty minutes after Booker received the call, paramedics arrived and helped save the life of Annie Turner, who had fallen after having a stroke.

On Tuesday, Booker, who was on spring break, was honored by the city council in her hometown, Hercules, just north of Berkeley. A staff member for State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, (D-Concord), said the senator also plans to honor Booker.

Booker, 18, a biochemistry major, said she quickly realized Turner had likely had a stroke. CPR classes Booker took during high school taught her the importance of continuing to talk to people during a traumatic situation.

On Thursday, before returning to UC Riverside, Booker visited Turner, 70, who is now partially paralyzed and has impaired speech. They met at Turner's apartment, where she had fallen and made the call to Booker.

"She was ecstatic," Booker said. "She was smiling. She just wanted to give me a hug."

The story has drawn national media attention.

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